LEEDS REGIONAL MEETING 24TH OCTOBER 2019
Members from the Yorkshire area got the chance to meet members of our Committee when the Association held a regional meeting at BBC Leeds.
Christina Hamilton chaired the meeting with support from Jonathan Smith and new Committee member Colin Sykes. She explained how the Association was formed in 1988 to monitor the BBC pension fund which was then in surplus. She explained how the Association has changed over the years putting the idea of a ‘them and us’ approach to the BBC behind us to concentrate on a more co-operative approach.
The Association now has 2,400 active members and Christina explained how it aims to help sort out pension problems members may have through its contacts with the Pension Trust and the BBC. She demonstrated how the BBCPA website has evolved into a modern-looking portal for members. One of the most popular additions has been the various offers and discounts negotiated by the BBCPA on behalf of members. A video outlining the offers was shown to the meeting. Discounts and special deals on home, travel and car insurance were outlined along with discounts at several leading retailers. Christina also explained how the regular e-newsletter worked and how the Association was pushing ahead with electronic mailing to save paper and help the environment in the process through cutting waste.
Colin Sykes reported on the new aims of the Association which have recently been approved by the Committee. These include a commitment to champion the needs of the Association’s membership and also offer members the chance to still feel part of the BBC’s wider community of former employees. Details of how to contribute to the Association’s hugely popular memory bank were also demonstrated at the meeting.
BRISTOL REGIONAL MEETING 17TH OCTOBER 2019
Members from Bristol and surrounding areas gathered in the Animal Magic room in BBC Bristol for their Regional Meeting. On this occasion Khalid Iqbal, Committee Member, was the sole representative of the BBCPA Committee.
The new objectives of the BBCPA were received with lots of enthusiasm and applause. A presentation about the BBC Pension Scheme prompted questions about a potential buy-out. Khalid reassured members that there was no likelihood of this due to the huge sums of money that would be involved. A further discussion about RPI v CPI resulted in further reassurances that there had been no approach by the BBC to consider such a change.
After a tea break Khalid proceeded to show a video recorded at the BBCPA AGM in April of Leslie Huss-Smickler’s explanation of the current BBCPA offers. This was well received, and members thought it was a very useful part of the BBCPA’s work. There was some suggestion about potential discounts with mobile phone providers. As always, Khalid explained, we are looking for new partners to bring offers to our members.
The meeting ended at 4.15
SCOTLAND REGIONAL MEETING 8TH NOVEMBER 2019
Albert Barber, Maurice Maguire, George Auckland, represented the BBCPA.
The meeting was held on the same day as an annual lunch organised by BBC Scotland pensioners. This is quite a large group and 23 of them attended our morning meeting at the same venue, the Crowne Plaza Hotel, directly across the river Clyde from BBC Scotland’s headquarters BBC Pacific Quay.
The meeting began with a few words from Albert followed by everyone attending introducing themselves and giving a potted biography of their BBC careers and information about retirement activities. This took some time but was well worthwhile. They came from a wide range of BBC jobs with a strong representation by BBC Engineers of all kinds as well as people who started as secretaries, personnel officers, World Service journalists and so on. Many had had training or worked for some time in London but clearly preferred to work in BBC Scotland when the opportunities arose. Most people seems satisfied with their time at the BBC and enjoyed their careers although some took the opportunity to leave when Producer Choice came in. A significant number who left then returned to work as freelancers. There seemed to be no producers/directors except the three committee members.
We showed a couple of PowerPoints explaining the role of the BBCPA and how the BBC Pension Scheme works plus the excellent video shot by Jonathan Smith of Leslie Huss-Smickler presenting the range of offers he has managed to secure on behalf of our members.
We were invited to join the rest of the group for lunch.
I hope we have recruited one or two new members although that was not the main purpose of the exercise. I believe we have made quite a number of new friends who may be willing to spread the word about the BBCPA.